KING OF PAIN
This cantankerous coot's cranium's been throbbin' with irony-overload watching Sheriff "Nickel Bag" Joe Arpaio crown himself Maricopa County's anti-corruption czar, with aid and comfort from our wing-nutty County Attorney Candy Thomas. The hypocritical hosers have formed a partnership they call MACE (Maricopa County Anti-Corruption Enforcement), which has been setting its sights on just about everyone in public office but (you guessed it) Thomas and Arpaio.
Reminds this red-bellied woodpecker of that old saw about the fox, the key, and the henhouse. It'd be funnier than Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory if Thomas and Arpaio weren't two of the nastiest varmints ever to hold elected office in Sand Land.
Those sneaky sidewinders have been using MACE to go after various not-so-high-profile misdeeds, like the supposed misuse of funds in community colleges, and alleged petition forgery on the part of Yuma Republican Russell Jones, a former state rep whose indictment was announced in a joint news conference at Thomas' office last week.
Candy alleged Jones "submitted nine petition sheets with his signature attesting to the fact that he had personally circulated them," though others apparently did so for him. All the same, Jones was defeated in a run for state Senate last November. Your guess is as good as this grouse's as to why Maricopa's C.A. is messin' with some Yuma County yokel. And Candy's proud of these tiny taters? Not only does Thomas look like 21st-century Keystone Kop Jim Dangle of Comedy Central's Reno 911!, shucks, he acts like the dim-witted deputy too.
"We will not tolerate public corruption in Maricopa County," declared Candy regarding Jones. "We will investigate corruption and prosecute the wrongdoers."
Unless the alleged chicanery is on the part of Candy or his confederates, natch.
If Candy wished to pursue purported corruption in the county he was elected to serve, he'd need look no further than his own political crony Dennis Wilenchik. Of course, he'd have to, er, probe himself too. (Ouch!) As former New Times staff writer John Dougherty reported last year ("Bully Pulpit," June 29, 2006), Candy's steered beaucoup bidness the way of the bulldog barrister more than $326K, to be exact. Candy worked for Wilenchik's law firm before being elected CA. Also, wily Wilenchik donated money to Candy's 2004 campaign coffers, and has helped raise funds for the CA's 2008 re-election effort. Currently, Wilenchik is Arpaio's lead legal beagle, defending the ludicrous lawman and his henchmen against a lawsuit filed by past-and-future political foe Dan Saban, now the police chief of booming Buckeye. More on Saban in a sec.
Candy's hypocrisy stinks worse than a garbage-poachin' possum, but that's nothing next to the rancid odor of Arpaio's blarney. Why would anyone take seriously any investigation pursued by a sheriff whose entire career has been littered with questionable media stunts, and the torture and wrongful deaths of those in his custody? A top cop known for repeatedly violating the civil rights of this county's citizens, resulting in millions in lawsuit settlements this is our self-proclaimed anti-corruption czar? An Idi Amin-like King of Pain is more like it.
Arpaio way outdoes Candy when it comes to headline-grabbin'. The sheriff announced this month that he's going after corruption in Valley Metro Rail, and in the offices of Attorney General Terry Goddard, though Candy's flack, Barnett Lotstein, would neither confirm nor deny the CA's participation in either probe to this down-bearer. In the Metro mess, Arpaio squawks that he's looking into the shenanigans of former manager Vicki Barron and her urging of a VMR contractor to hire a pal's firm, which resulted in Barron's October firing.
Two weeks ago, Arpaio held a news conference announcing that he and Candy both Republicans are investigating Attorney General (and Dem) Terry Goddard. Arpaio asserted that he and Candy, the Cagney and Lacey of the M.C., want to know if a $1.9 million payment from former State Treasurer David Petersen influenced the fact that Petersen, who stepped down in November, was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor corruption charge by the AG instead of being indicted on more serious counts.
Never mind that the $1.9 million Petersen reimbursement was required by state law, that Goddard has stated that more serious charges couldn't be proved against Petersen, that Candy's keeping mum and refusing to comment on Goddard while Arpaio shoots his mouth off, or even that there may be the perception of political skullduggery. (Both Thomas and Goddard hanker for higher office and may run against each other one day, you see.)
Contacted about the Goddard affair, erstwhile former GOP AG Grant Woods, whose name practically invokes harp music and halos in legal circles, peeped that such investigations of fellow office-holders are best "done quietly," because the charges often prove false in the end.
"My understanding is that a credible complaint was made to the county officials involved, and they felt an obligation to follow up," stated Woods in an e-mail to this steely-eyed eagle. "Whether this needed to be done after a press conference is another story. As to the allegations themselves, I find them incredible and have no doubt whatsoever that they are unfounded."
But this plover's primary point is that an official like Arpaio, whose hands are filthy with the blood of those killed and wounded in his custody, and who has done his best to slime his political opponents, is in no position to investigate the peccadilloes of others, whether or not they be credible.
This is the same Sheriff Joke who makes a mockery of his position by playing media whore with such stunts as his recent "Inmate Idle" competition, where performing prisoners vied for better food, his retarded, in-house KJOE radio show, which plays Frank Sinatra to stripe-wearers, or stumping for Scottsdale's Pink Taco restaurant, like he did last year, as reported in The Bird ("Pussy Posse," June 29, 2006).
Adding injury to insult, lawsuits continue to roll in against Joe, costing taxpayers millions. By the time Bird-watchers peruse this column, Phoenix attorney Mike Manning will probably have given his opening argument in the case of Phillip Wilson, an MCSO informant who was spying on the Aryan Brotherhood in Tent City. The "Woods," as they're referred to, found him out and beat him senseless on July 22, 2003, while Tent City guards assigned to the yard were allegedly chillin' in the parking lot. Wilson later died from his injuries. Manning's seeking $12 mil in damages, and he's won versus Joe before: $8.25 million in the 1996 death of MCSO inmate Scott Norberg; $9 million in the 2001 killing of Charles Agster III. Now he's poised for another plaintiff payday.
And there's more: In August, Buckeye police chief Dan Saban and lawyer Joel Robbins go to trial in their million-dollar suit over the efforts of Arpaio's chief deputy David Hendershott and others to smear the Sheriff's 2004 primary foe over a bogus rape charge. New Times journo Paul Rubin detailed the scummy tale in his January 25 cover story, "Boob's Tube."
After an incident like this one, you'd think Arpaio's office would be under investigation by someone! But in a perverted twist, he's the one doing the sleuthin'.
Arpaio's also got a vendetta against this paper for its ongoing criticism of his policies. New Times also has a lawsuit against the MCSO, seeking compensation because of the agency's violation of the state's public records law. That's why the Sheriff wants Pinal County to criminally prosecute us for mentioning his home address online, even though anyone with Internet access can acquire this info in a buttload of other places. Read more about this donnybrook in The Bird's Xmas column ("Joe Strikes Back," December 21, 2006).
Arpaio's bullying, his showboating, and his appetite for publicity know no bounds. Candy's his willing accomplice, but Arpaio's recklessness makes the self-aggrandizing badge-wearer the most dangerous dood in AZ, a law unto himself who perpetuates the canard that he gives two licks about public corruption. Christ, where's Superman when you need him?
Or maybe just a U.S. Attorney with a set of nads.
Here's a little follow-up to this buzzard's exposé last week of Kia dealer Rusty Childress' regular Thursday-night prejudice parties at his automall at 23rd Avenue and Camelback Road ("Bigot Bash," April 19, 2007). Apparently, former Mesa city council candidate J.T. Ready, who bumblefucked his way to defeat in March '06 after omitting from his bio info about his criminal history, is a member of the Web site Newsaxon.com, sort of a racist MySpace.com, which bills itself as "An Online Community for Whites By Whites." This, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The profile on Newsaxon.com, under the handle "Viking Son," features several pics of the rotund racist parading in a kilt, debating "anti-white commies" at a demonstration, and searching for illegals with a big set of binoculars. His turn-ons include, "A woman who loves our Race, Kultur, Heritage, History and Future," while turn-offs list "Negativity" and "Race-Mixing," among others.
Favorite books include the neo-Nazi classic The Turner Diaries you know, the racist dystopian novel by the late white supremacist leader William Pierce, which inspired Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Music-wise, the dood's into Prussian Blue, the white-nationalist bubblegum-pop duo of Lynx and Lamb Gaede, two blond, blue-eyed teenage twins who love Adolf Hitler, swastikas and giving the Nazi salute at their concerts.
This "Viking Son" page (www.newsaxon.com/Viking_Son) sports such gnarly maxims as "We must create White Familes our perish" [sic], as well as messages from his pals, like "Have a White day," and constant references to 14/88, neo-Nazi shorthand for a 14-word statement by imprisoned white supremacist David Lane ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children"), and the eighth letter of the alphabet, 88, meaning "HH" or "Heil Hitler!"
Ready's racist leanings on Newsaxon.com were first outed by the Anti-Defamation League at a state legislative hearing in March, which is probably why J.T. referred to the org as the "Anti-Defecation League" at one of Rusty Childress' white-pride powwows.
Indeed, ADL regional director Bill Straus additionally advised this avian that Ready was a visitor to the neo-Nazi National Vanguard's annual Winterfest gathering in PHX last year, a little fete also attended by Mexican flag-burner extraordinaire Laine Lawless.
Seems Childress and Ready are tight. Ready was once a bouncer at the Scottsdale club e4. According to club CEO Aron Mezo, Childress is a part-investor in the club and helped get Ready a job at the swanky nightspot, though Ready hasn't worked there in at least a year, says Mezo.
What with Ready being a chum, and Ready embracing white-supremacist views on Newsaxon.com, maybe Childress can come out of the supremacist closet finally and raise a Confederate flag over his Kia dealership. Of course, that might not jibe well with his Korean business partners. Come to think of it, how can Ready pal around with fellow anti-immigrationists at a dealership that specializes in foreign rather than domestic automobiles? Could he be a "race-traitor" for doing so? Blimey, what will other Newsaxons think when they find out?
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Didn't take long for the right-wing macadamias in talk-radio land to make ideological hay out of Seung-Hui Chos Columbine-inspired slaughter on the campus of Virginia Tech. Before anyone could suggest that maybe it was a little too easy for koo-koo Cho (hey, isn't that a Beatles lyric?) to get hold of his handguns and his ammo, NRA keister-kissers were on the job, suggesting that if everyone at Virginia Tech had been packin' heat, there would have been no problem. Capisce?
Still, even this jaded jaybird was taken aback by the bitter ravings of crusty KFYI 550 AM blowhard Barry "I Cant Remember When I Was" Young. A day after the tragedy, Burl Ives-look-alike Barry posited the theory that Cho's 32 victims deserved what they got 'cause they were all a bunch of coddled weenies. Well, all except for Holocaust survivor and teacher Liviu Librescu, who died barricading a doorway from the killer while his students escaped.
"They allowed themselves to be shot one at a time," spat Young at one point. At another, he mused, "You gotta wonder why people would just stand there and be slaughtered."
Young's sidekick, an obnoxious broad named Michelle Larson, suggested the victimhood of the victims was because they were somehow Europeanized by their education. Forget the fact that hero Librescu was born and educated in Romania, which, the last time this liberal loon checked, is still in freakin' Europe. But never let the facts get in the way of a bile-spew, right, Michelle? According to their logic, should Barry ever get pistol-whipped, or Michelle ever get sexually assaulted by thugs, this feathered fiend will know who to blame. Um, not the thugs, that's for sure.